Some 350 children die needlessly each year in Australia as a result of accidents - most of which are preventable, UNSW injury risk researcher Professor Paul Barach says.

Drownings, fires, falls, road accidents and poisonings are the five leading causes of accidental deaths of Australian children.

A further 66,000 children require hospital treatment for injuries each year- and more could be done to reduce this toll, Professor Barach said.

Policy makers and researchers met at UNSW this week to debate the issue, following the release of the WHO World Report on Child Injury Prevention, which found 2,000 children and teenagers die from preventable accidents every day around the world.

Professor Barach, director of the NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre at UNSW, told AAP child injury was often overshadowed by the push for cures for childhood disease.

"Overall, it is injury that is the number one cause of death in children below the age of 18 ... but it doesn't quite get the bandwidth you'd expect," he said.

"If you could find a 'drowning gene' or the 'road transportation killer gene' then this would be simple but, in general, the resources have not followed, people have had to work at this piecemeal and so many kids are still being harmed."

Professor Barach said one area that needed attention was child seatbelt use, as many parents appeared to be confused about when to start and stop using a booster seat.

For the full AAP story go to SMH Online.

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 |